With the myriad of changes to Google’s search algorithm that just keep coming, the massive amount of online content (there are over 1 billion live websites), and so many other ways to market online, it is natural to wonder: is SEO still important in 2017?
In a word: yes.
Searching for information on a site like Google, Bing, or Yahoo (whether on a desktop computer or mobile device) is still the primary way people discover information online. It is still an excellent opportunity to have potential new customers discover your brand, products, and services. Well optimized web pages improve your chances of driving new traffic to your online presence without having to pay for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
Search Engine Optimization continues to evolve to be a better experience for the user. It’s time to stop asking is SEO still important; it always will be. If you haven’t been giving it proper attention, now is a great time to update your knowledge and bump up your web presence in 2017.
Old SEO Advice to Discard
The formula for page one rankings on Google used to be simple. Your web page needed around 300 – 500 words and quality didn’t matter much. You had to repeat your targeted keyword a bunch of times (aka “keyword stuffing”). Then you just needed a ton of backlinks and traffic would roll in like ants at a picnic.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you now know these and other “black hat” tricks have been penalized ever since the attack of Google’s “P” animal updates (Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, Possum, etc.). Plus, Google is constantly tweaking and updating their algorithm every month and they don’t always announce changes.
Google (with Bing and Yahoo who tend to follow suit) is on a quest to continually serve up relevant, high-quality results to its user. If your company wants to crush it in today’s SEO landscape, you must begin with your prospect or customer in mind. Focus on creating thoughtful and useful content they will love, then tweak for optimization. Relevant content that takes a deep dive will delight your readers, keep them on your page longer (reducing your bounce rate) and will keep the search engine algorithms loving your site.
How to Use Keywords in 2017
Keywords, key phrases, and longtail keywords are the foundation of any good SEO strategy. It is a word or phrase that your ideal audience will type into a search bar and hopefully find your content. If you want your sales page, podcast episode or blog post to be found, spend time researching with a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or a paid alternative.
Experiment with longtail keywords: longer, more specific phrases that will help you zero in on a targeted group of searchers. For example, if you’re in the health field and want to produce content on juicing with apples, simply using the keyword “apple” might be too broad. Google “apple,” and you will get over 2 billion results; the first page alone will refer to the iconic company who gave us iPhones and iPads. Using the key phrase “apple fruit” will put you in the right ballpark, but you’ll still be competing with 130 million other web pages. Using a longtail keyword or specific phrase like “apple juicing recipe” will give you the best chance of attracting the right audience.
While keyword stuffing is frowned upon, you still need to think about frequency and placement. Make sure you use your keyword or phrase in the title of your web page or content piece. Include your keyword in the page URL. You also want to use it early in your piece (the first paragraph is perfect) and repeat it a few times throughout the content in a natural manner that will sense to a reader.
What Still Matters in 2017: Tags, Titles, Links, and More
There are other SEO basics that shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure you complete all your meta tag information for your pages. Using subheadings are other creative ways to include other keywords related to your main topic. If you are using images on your web pages (and who isn’t), don’t forget to change the name from “shutterstock_0123456” to something that includes your keywords.
Having authoritative links still helps SEO. If you have a content-rich site, start by linking to other related content on your site so your audience has a chance to dive into your knowledge base. Use influencer marketing tactics to earn mentions (and links) from their site about your products and services.
Do you know where your company stands?
There’s much more that you can do to improve your SEO in 2017. But do you even know the current state of your website and how you can improve it?
Find out now by claiming your FREE SEO CHECK UP!